Pan de Jamon (Ham Bread)

I know that Christmas is long gone. And so are the Christmas foods. Except that this year due to numerous other stuff,we had to deal around my house, we left a lot of Christmas food making for "after" the holidays.

Case in point: "Pan de Jamon" which basically translates to: Ham Bread.

"Pan de jamon" is a huge, golden, egg-washed bread filled with swirls of ham, olives, bacon, and raisins. This is a traditional staple in Venezuela Holiday cuisine. Most family will not even think of having the holiday go by without this on their table

I have been craving one since December, this past weekend the craving hit a high point and I had to make this one way or another. 

This recipe makes 3 loaves.


For the bread dough:
¾ cup water, about 110-115 degrees
2 ½ teaspoons dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
4 ½ ounces unsalted butter
4 ¼ cups warm milk
2-3 pounds all purpose flour (about 12 cups)
½ teaspoon sea salt

For the filling
1 ½ pounds sliced ham
½ pound smoked bacon cut in cubes (save the bacon fact)
4 ounces olives stuffed with red pepper and roughly chopped
4 ounces raisins (soaked in red wine)
1 egg, beaten lighly to glaze the top 

To do the dough for the bread, we start with the "starter" in a bowl, mix the warm water and sugar and then add the yeast. Let stand for 15 minutes until it foamy.

Add the butter to the warm milk, the sugar and salt.  In a mixer with a doug hook, start mixing the flour in a low setting and then add the milk mixture to it, and then the yeast "sponge".  Let the mixer mix for about 15 minutes. When cycle is complete, remove dough from machine to a lightly floured surface. Knead in until soft and smooth, using enough flour to make dough easy to handle. Roll it like a ball and place in an oiled bowl and cover with a damp clothes and let rise in warm draft-free place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

In the meantime, start preparing the filling.

Turn oven to 375 degrees

Place a sauted pan on the stove to medium high heat. Cut your bacon into cubes and place in the hot pan.  Cook the bacon until translusent, (not crispy)... take out and place in a bowl, save the bacon fat.  Set out the raisins and pour some red wine over them and let them soak.  Take the olives and if not chopped, do so, roughly, set in a bowl and put aside. Beat the egg and set aside.

Now back to the bread.

Roll out the dough with a rolling pin, until about square.  Take the bacon grease and with a brush, coat the dough with the bacon fat (try to coat the whole dough).  Arrange the ham, bacon, olives and raisins on top, leaving a small strip bare at the top. Brush the strip with egg and roll up gently.  Roll it up like a swiss roll making sure the seam is under the bread, tuck the sides in as well, and place in a sheet pan that has been coated with non-stick spray or lined with a Silpat mat.  Coat the bread with the egg mixture to seal it. and let stand for about 15 minutes before you place in the oven.

Bake for 45 minutes until golden brown all around.  Take out of oven, move it to a cooling rack until warm, about 15-20 minutes.  Cut and served.

A quick tip: If you are press for time, I have used the Pillsbury pizza dough tube in order to replace the step of making my own bread.  Works like a charm.  Follow the package baking instructions.